Calming My Nerves (in School)

Topic 2038 | Page 1

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Bonarro's Comment
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I'm currently in my second week of driver training in Roehl's Driver Trainer School and my nerves are getting the best of me because I'm still struggling with my shifting. Today we are suppose to head downtown which means heavier traffic, more stoplights, tighter more precise turns, lane changes in traffic. These things wouldn't bother me if I had my shifting skills mastered. How can I be alert to all the things that I need to, to be a safe driver when I'm worried about my shifting ? I consider myself a reasonably smart guy and I have always been able to pick up new things pretty quickly so it's really rocking my confidence that I'm still struggling with my shifting. Granted, I haven't logged more than 8 full hours behind the wheel yet, but others to seem to be picking it up faster than me. I really think I have what it takes to be a good safe driver, I think I'd be a good employee, I'm not at all opposed to working hard. All of this hinges on me getting better at my shifting. We test next Monday and with three people in a truck I will be lucky to log another ten hours or drive time. We still have to practice our backing skills during that time. I'm a bit concerned.

Britton R.'s Comment
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Shifting comes with doing it over and over. I wasnt comfortable with it either. Then we got loads through small townw. Going from 60 to 20 mph every 20 minutes you start picking it up. I doubt they'll expect you to be perfect. It doesnt always come quickly to people. Being put into a situation that you arent comfortable with will make you learn, or break you. Just stick with it. Also only getting limited time behind the wheel probably isnt helping.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Listen Bonarro - you're going to be perfectly fine.

There is certainly such a thing as "over-thinking it" and it sounds like you might be approaching that level of concern. Another way of putting it is "paralysis by analysis".

Here's the thing - you already know how to shift pretty well. It just comes down to executing it. Well if you think too hard and try too hard to make every move perfectly you're going to flub it up. The thing to do is to relax, completely clear your mind of thoughts, and let go of the idea that missing a gear or grinding gears is harmful. It's not. It's normal. You're going to do that forever. Every driver does.

What you want to do is keep your mind clear and allow your body to make the movements it knows how to make. You know how to clutch, you know how to shift, and you understand the basic timing involved with it. So relax and let yourself go - just let it flow. If you miss a gear - so what! If you grind one - so what! It makes no difference right now. It sounds odd - but you almost have to make yourself not care if you shift well or not. That will allow you to relax, your mind will clear, and suddenly you'll find yourself shifting a whole lot better. Then you'll accidentally make the mistake of trying to analyze why it's suddenly going so well and bam! - paralysis by analysis again and you'll flub it up!

rofl-3.gif

I'll give you a personal example. I'm really fast at typing and it's partly because I've done it so long and partly because I practice it every day. I set aside about 10-15 minutes each day to do online typing practice. Well there are days when I can type so fast I want to call the news stations. They should be reporting typing like this!!!

rofl-3.gif

Then there are days where I'm embarrassingly awful. I mean, I can't do anything right. And what I've found over time is that the harder I try to focus on finding the keys and typing fast the more sloppy and awful I am. When I decide I don't care if I type like garbage and that there are no consequences to screwing up I stop analyzing it so hard, stop trying so hard, and I relax and it just flows again. I already know how to type. I just need to relax and allow myself to do what I already know how to do.

You can shift just fine. There's just one or two little tricks you haven't stumbled upon yet, but you're about to. And when you do, you'll have it down. It's super important to relax and get the idea out of your mind that you have to try harder and harder when it's not working. In fact, you do the opposite - try less...think about it less....relax more and just let it happen on its own.

In sports they call it "being in the zone". Your mind is clear, your confidence is high, and you play like a superstar. You can't really even explain it, but my God would you love to be able to bottle that up and sell it because everyone on Earth would love to perform like that consistently. But we're fatally human - we simply can't.

So relax and enjoy the learning process. Laugh at yourself when things don't go well, knowing that soon enough you'll be 1000 times better. It's going to "click" for you any day now and suddenly it will all come together perfectly. I've seen this happen 1000 times with people. In fact, when you get out of school and report back to us you might say that exact thing happened to you today. If not, it probably will tomorrow.

Don't sweat it. You'll have it down and pass your tests with flying colors - no question about it.

smile.gif

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Bonarro Brett is exactly on point. I too struggled because I was my own worst enemy. Bob repeatedly told me to quit over thinking it, and it got much better after I relaxed. My only points on my exam were shifting and I still passed with flying colors. Just relax, take a deep breath and you'll do fine. I'm sure Dale has already told you that so many times.....And don't stress yourself out over the examiner next Monday either. Those folks are a great bunch, and are only interested in you doing your best. Have fun with it. I did it and you can too my friend!!!!!good-luck.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
BugSmasherOne (Paul K.)'s Comment
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My OTR trainer is closing on on 6 million miles and he still grinds gears ocassionally. When I first got on his truck he told me everyone grinds gears, the sooner you get to the point that you understand that, the sooner you will get the hang of it.smile.gif

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Anthony R.'s Comment
member avatar

There were times I thought I would never catch on to shifting-I was dropped by a trainer because I couldnt shift after two hours-another trainer got me going-had doubts then-then on first run with trainer came to a dead stop on the first couple of inclines going up-however-after a couple of weeks,was driving through traffic jams and city traffic with no problem-it will come with time and practice-I found that when slowing down-drop it to eighth right from 10th when you get down to 30mph-then to 6th when it gets to 15mph or so-then do your turn in 6th-if you have to come to a complete stop-then you can drop it to 4th before you get going again. Shifting up-shift when you feel the acceleration drop off-to the next highest gear-these are things that helped me. Go right from 4th to 6th when shifting up-I find that works. Avoid beating up on yourself too much if you grind a lot in the beginning.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Bonarro's Comment
member avatar

I knew that I would get a ton of good advice coming here. Per usual, I was freaking my self out for no reason. Me and my truck mates made it downtown and back several times without any major malfunction. Some things I did well and others not so great but I felt that I got better overall. Today was a day of learning, things that I think will make me a better driver. Tonight, I'm putting away the books and videos and heading to the gym to unload my stress. Thanks to everyone for their very helpful responses.

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